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date: 17 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the ideas of biblical ‘orthodoxy’ and scepticism in Anglican and radical ideas on how the Bible was to be understood. It considers the early modern understanding of the difference between the ‘ordinary’ illumination of reason and the special illumination of revelation, and investigates the role of clerical authority in mediating between these. It moves from the arguments directed at puritan biblicism by Richard Hooker to the mid-seventeenth century reaction to radical religious speculation by Laudian intellectuals, such as Jeremy Taylor, who sought explicitly to question the status of the biblical texts as the infallible Word of God, through sophisticated textual criticism and the application of historicist methods. It is argued that there was considerable overlap between latitudinarian scholarship and radical, deist arguments about the Bible and the role of ‘heterodox’ modes of biblical criticism in shaping the ‘orthodox’ tradition of the Church of England is illuminated.

Keywords: Bible printing, history of the book, ecclesiology, Richard Hooker, Jeremy Taylor, scepticism, radicalism

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